As might be expected, mania for writing rock operas growing and expanding. Another composer vzal over this quite heavy and dangerous goods was the leader of the British hard by Ten Gary Hughes. The theme for his conceptual works of Gary chose rather hackneyed and trite metalworkers story of King Arthur. This is where the Round Table, Sir Lancelot, Merlin, the sword Excalibur and other. Hughes himself took, of course, the role of Arthur. The rest of the vocals were shared between Damien Wilson (Threshold, Ayreon), Lana Lane, Danny Vaughn (Tyketto), Irene Jansen (Karma), Bob Catley (Magnum) and Sean Harris (Diamond Head). As for the instrumental part of the work, there were noted by supporters Glenn Ten, as well as a magnificent Arjen Anthony Lucassen.
It is not hard to guess that the plate is made in the hard rock vein with minor impurities power metal and progressive. Honestly, "Once And Future King Part 1" left quite an ambiguous impression. On the one hand, the quality of the material is at the highest level, there are some fairly strong compositions - opener "Excalibur" with keyboard intro Lucassen, cool hard rock epic "Dragon Island Cathedral", the ballad "At The End Of The Day" with the duo Hughes -Leyn, midtempovaya "Shapeshifter" with funky vocals Jansen and another ballad "King For A Day" with Voice Catley. But on the other person seemed to me that the disc does not look something monolithic and global, as should be expected from such works. While on the other hand, this disc - only the first part of the rock opera. So, it may be wise to wait for the second part of "Once And Future King" (which, incidentally, are expected to attend DiSi Cooper, Sabina Edelsbacher and Doogie White), which will give the web completeness.
I must confess that do not quite understand why Gary Hughes took and broke his rock opera "Once And Future King" into two parts, which were born with a difference of a couple of months. Why was not planted on both sides of the product and the double-disc release them into the light at the same time. Well, okay, not my mind this thing.
With specific regard to continuation of the story about the adventures of King Arthur that Hughes himself wrote, produced the partially fulfilled, there is nothing fundamentally new in comparison to "Part I", not here. With a few exceptions - in the slim number of vocalists sang the role of characters in the story of the Knights of the Round Table, joined Sabina Edelsbacher (Edenbridge), Doogie White (Y. Malmsteen, Rainbow) and DC Cooper (Royal Hunt, Silent Force), which, without departing from the cash registers, disk shock sang opening "Kill The King". The rest of the material is a full extension of hard power-heavy cocktail, mixed with the first part. Of all the material I would especially like to highlight the already mentioned the first thing Cooper, vigorous and dynamic "Rise From The Shadows" with vocals by Irene Jansen, a cute "Believe Enough To Fight" with lead vocals Edelsbacher and "beached" Bob Catley, a little folk (not so much for music as for atmosphere) "The Pagan Dream" and the bright hard rock number "Demon Down". In short, listenable and high-quality material, not a masterpiece, but it clearly stands out against the background of colleagues Hughes on Frontiers Records, work.